BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Lees-McRae senior DeAndre Tillman opened up Senior Day with a thunderous dunk to set the tone early while the LMC offense shot an impressive 54.7% from the floor in a 75-72 win against Belmont Abbey in Conference Carolinas action Saturday afternoon at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Bobcats (7-19, 2-13 CC) sent their two seniors (Tillman and Darius Smith) out in style while junior Jacquise Moore (Concord, N.C.) dropped 21 points to snap a lengthy losing skid. The Crusaders (10-15, 6-9) took the loss despite a 28-point, 15-rebound performance from Darryl Durham.
Smith (Woodbridge, Va.) and Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) took control early while scoring 11 of LMC's first 18 points while the Bobcats held an 18-12 advantage.
Moore knocked down one of his team-high four three-pointers to push the Bobcat lead to nine, 21-12. However, the Crusaders responded 9-1 run, capped off by a Justin Kuhlman three to cut the deficit to one, 22-21.
Kuhlman sank another tripled to give BAC a slim 29-28 advantage. LMC's offense ripped off an 11-0 run capped off by a Mike Chambers (Winston-Salem, N.C.) steal and three-point play.
The freshman would connect for three of his 15 points with 38 seconds remaining in the first half to give LMC a 42-33 lead into the half.
The Bobcats shot 53.3% from the floor while knocking down five three-pointers.
LMC hit its largest lead (14) following a pair of Smith buckets with 14:12 remaining.
The Crusaders answered with a 16-2 run while Durham and Ryan Conrad added four points each.
Durham got a layup to roll in while the Bobcats held a 65-64 advantage with 4:02 on the clock.
The freshmen duo of Chambers and Donte Falls (Shelby, N.C.) pushed the LMC lead back to six, 70-64.
Smith would hit the backend on a pair of free-throws while the Bobcat defense clamped down and denied BAC on a pair of three-point game-tying opportunities in the waning seconds.
Moore paced the team in points while Smith had 16 in his Bobcat home finale while dishing out seven assists. LMC's defense held the Crusaders to 29.2% from the three-point range.
Kuhlman added 15 points for BAC while Durham led the squad in all other offensive categories.
The Bobcats wrap up their 2013-14 campaign with a trip to Gaffney, S.C. to battle Limestone Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.